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21.3.05

Fuel-Efficient Patriotism

Some people are making a little too much of a new poll that shows that two thirds of Americans think driving a more fuel-efficient car is patriotic. Presumably many of those who said yes are indicating that fuel efficiency is compatible with patriotism, not that it's required for patriotism -- much like a civilian would not be hypocritical for calling military service a patriotic career. Certainly the question is not set up well to distinguish these differences in opinion. The poll itself (pdf) also seems a but unreliable. The fuel-efficient patriotism question offers an argument in favor and solicits the respondent's level of agreement. The previous question asks about agreement with a set of pro-fuel-efficiency findings by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Presented in this way, the questions seem likely to sway undecided respondents toward the environmentalist viewpoint.

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